A cramped kitchen, tons of guests, overly sensitive smoke detectors—these are the ingredients to a typical, stressful Thanksgiving we all know too well. No more.
Skip the marathon cooking and let the pros handle it by dining out this Turkey Day. Yes, it's last minute, but, lucky you, there are still a bunch of tables open at restaurants all over the city, and we've got the rundown of where you can reserve for every kind of eater in your group.
For the Turkey Day traditionalists
Yes, they're sneaking ginger into your cranberry sauce, but otherwise Buttermilk Channel in Carroll Gardens is keeping it pretty classic—with a Southern accent. For just $50 a pop, share a cider-brined turkey with your crew and pass the caramelized onion gravy, oyster bread pudding, buttermilk-thickened potatoes and honey-buttered cornbread, please. And no need to stressfully choose between pies, you win 'em all with its sweet potato-and-pumpkin pie.
524 Court St.; 1 to 7 p.m.; $50 per person. Reserve online here or by calling 718-852-8490.
For the vegetarians (or leafy-green lovers)
A gourd-graced, wild 'shroom-stocked Thanksgiving meal can still be an indulgent one. Trek to the Upper East Side for The East Pole's wintry vegetable-laden menu. Take your pick of squash (Madras-seasoned kabocha soup or roasted butternut squash salad dressed in a grilled-apple vinaigrette) to start, then feast on a beautifully arranged macro plate with adzuki beans, kale, pickled vegetables and brown rice (or garlic-rubbed turkey and grilled striped bass with salsa verde for the carnivores).
133 E. 65th St.; 1 to 8 p.m.; $120 per person. Reserve by calling 212-249-2222.
For the turkey haters
For some, the only good things about Thanksgiving are prime time with family and friends and lazing around after a feast of sides. Now there's a whole lot more to love with April Bloomfield's decidedly turkey-less menu at The Breslin. Rock Cornish game hen with cornbread stuffing, guanciale-topped squash, scallops with persimmons and bacon or Long Island fluke with a cauliflower couscous. Pie? Of course not! Bloomfield is baking up an apple and almond galette and roasted-pumpkin bread pudding.
16 W. 29th St.; 1 to 10 p.m.; $75 per person. Reservations full now; limited number of walk-in spots available.
For the leftover lovers
Of course you want in on Daniel Humm's take on the traditional meal at The NoMad, from the foie gras–smothered beef carpaccio and brown butter mashed taters to slow-roasted cod with matsutake mushrooms and turkey roasted with butternut squash, chestnut and stuffing. But swing by The NoMad Bar next door the next day for his turkey sandwiches ($18) made from those killer leftovers.
1170 Broadway; noon to 9 p.m.; $135 per person; $65 for children under 12. Reserve by calling 347-472-5660.
For the hard-to-please in-laws
The more, the merrier, we always say around this time of year. And we're talking about all that Alfred Portale is offering this Thanksgiving at the always classy Gotham Bar and Grill. Particular eaters can pick from eight first courses, from seared foie gras dotted with figs to white-truffle topped risotto, and a whopping nine main courses, including venison with braised red cabbage, roasted turkey with duck confit–sour cherry stuffing or 28-day dry-aged New York steak to rattle off a few. But the real wow factor: Petrossian caviar. Now that's fixin's.
12 E. 12th St.; 11:45 a.m. to 9 p.m.; $135 per person. Reserve by calling 212-620-4020.
For the deal seekers
It's hard enough to keep dinner below $50 in this city, but you'll clock in just around that at Bacchanal on the Lower East Side. Start with one of its ridiculously inexpensive apéritifs, say Vermouth Service ($6), and charge ahead with butternut squash soup, foie gras and huckleberry stuffing, and lots of choices, like chestnut pappardelle with duck ragout or striped bass swimming in a coconut-curry broth.
146 Bowery; 2 to 9 p.m.; $55 per person. Reserve by calling 646-355-1840 or emailing here.
For opposing palates
Perhaps more divisive than those tableside politics chats are the turkey-loving versus turkey-averse arguments among your group. Come to a delicious compromise at Empire Diner in Chelsea, where there's one plate, not a whole menu, dedicated to the turkey and all the fixin's ($29)—roulade with cornbread stuffing, sour cream mashed potatoes, green beans and gravy—for fans of the former and Amanda Freitag's diner riffs, like fish and chips, patty melts and special-sauced burgers for everyone else.
210 Tenth Ave.; noon to 8 p.m. Reserve by calling 212-596-7523 or emailing here.
Pumpkin pie at Lafayette | Photo: Noah Fecks
For the Frenchies
The French don't indulge in turkey until December, and true Francophiles can follow suit at Andrew Carmellini's East Village bistro, Lafayette. Spread an autumn pâté of foie gras and red cabbage or spoon up a turnip and leek velouté, then sink into dry-aged strip steak with—you guessed it—frites and squash ravioli with apple mostarda. As for dessert, they're still keeping it all-American with Jen Yee's excellent pies (pumpkin maple, chocolate pecan and apple crumb).
380 Lafayette St.; noon to 8 p.m.; $95 per person. Reserve by calling 212-533-3000.
For the serious foodies
Maybe they had been to Blenheim the first time around under Justin Hilbert, but what about with Ryan Tate at the helm? With many New Yorkers out of town, it's prime time to score a coveted table. The four-course meal features a roasted pear and celery root soup, venison knackwurst, roasted heritage turkey, Blenheim Hill Farm beef roast and some whimsical desserts, like roasted pumpkin farmers' cheesecake and apple pavé with white cheddar and caramel ice cream.
283 W. 12th St.; seatings at 2 and 8 p.m.; $95 per person. Reserve through OpenTable or by calling 212-243-7073.
For the Turkey Day traditionalists who want more options
Hit up Reynard for Sean Rembold's no-nonsense, stick-to-your-ribs feast. It involves oysters and sausage; spiced carrot soup whipped with brown butter, striped bass, turkey or a rib roast; and a smattering of sides, like sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, cipollini onions and cranberry relish. To finish, apple honey cake or pumpkin pie, of course. Nothing wrong with keeping it simple.
80 Wythe Ave.; noon to 8 p.m.; $87 per person. Reserve by calling 718-460-8004.
But if you're in last-minute shopping panic mode...
There's still hope! Dash by Marlow & Daughters between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to stock up on all the essentials, like She Wolf loaves, sausage, pie dough, mulling kits and all the sides you could want, like oysters, cornbread, mashed taters and pies galore (apple cheddar, bourbon pecan, malted milk chocolate, pumpkin and squash). Whew, that was a close one.